By Rosanna Caira, Editor & Publisher, Hotelier magazine
TORONTO ─ As business leaders in the community, hotels are used to being community hubs where tourists and locals alike congregate. It’s not surprising, then, that many hotels across the country are now helping, where they can, to provide accommodation to those in need.
As an example, to acknowledge the many hardworking Toronto doctors and nurses in the continuing battle to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, Amexon Development Corporation recently offered free accommodation to doctors and nurses at its Grand Hotel & Suites, located in downtown Toronto, through special reservations at NurseMdbooking@grandhoteltoronto.com
According to GM Heidi Wengle, “Frontline doctors and nurses in nearby hospitals are working tirelessly to keep us all safe and Amexon is pleased to offer a comfortable facility so they can get much-needed rest and avoid long commutes. We hope we can be of help since our hotel is conveniently located near the major downtown hospitals.”
The nurses and doctors stay on their own separate floors, representing 177 rooms. To date, several confirmed bookings have been received from nurses and doctors who work at St. Michael’s Hospital and Toronto General Hospital, while others have emailed with the intention to book in the future, based on their work schedules.
Wengle sees this initiative “as our civic duty and to acknowledge the efforts of those who are continuing to work long days and nights to keep patients safe and COVID-19 at bay. We will do whatever it takes to help make the hotel stay for these heroes feel like a home. We’re staying open to provide safe and affordable accommodation to nurses, staff at senior’s homes and other frontline workers ─ offering them special rates for safe and comfortable accommodation away from home,” she adds.
Similarly, Accent Inns in B.C. is providing lower rates for healthcare professionals. The idea to offer these rates was fuelled by a call the GM of the company’s Victoria location received from a registered nurse who was desperate and on the verge of tears on the phone. According to a public-relations representative from the hotel, the nurse shared with the GM that some of her nurses were sleeping in their cars, so as to prevent the spread of the virus to elderly parents or children and many nurses were working 14-hour days with only a short time between their next shift. They needed a safe place to get rest between shifts and keep their families safe. Due to the closure of several hotels, the nurse wasn’t able to find any reservations. In response to that call, Accent Inns acted quickly and created the Healthcare-Offer rate and got it out to as many healthcare professionals as they could, says a company representative.